Austin Police Department and U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force are appealing to the public for help in locating suspect Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, who is wanted on first-degree murder felony charges in connection with the shooting death of gravel cyclist Moriah Wilson on May 11 in Austin, Texas.
As of Wednesday, May 25, U.S. Marshals believe that Armstrong may have fled by airplane to New York three days after Wilson was killed in a shooting while staying at a friend’s home on Maple Avenue in Austin.
New information suggests Armstrong was at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on May 14 at 12:30 pm. U.S. Marshals believe that Armstrong then boarded a flight to Houston Hobby Airport followed by a connecting flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Marshals on Wednesday.
U.S. Marshals released new surveillance video footage that show a woman who authorities say they believe to be Armstrong at the airport in Austin. She was last seen on surveillance video footage wearing a blue denim jacket, black shirt with a pink design on the chest, white jeans, black and white tennis shoes, a black COVID mask, and a possible yoga mat carrier on her shoulders.
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The Austin Police Department (APD) issued an arrest warrant for Armstrong in connection to the shooting death of Wilson, issued on May 17, signed by a Judge at the City of Austin Municipal Court - District Court of Travis County, and filed on May 19, 2022.
The arrest warrant names Armstrong, 34, as wanted in first-degree felony murder charges and describes her as a white, female, with no additional aliases. U.S. Marshals also described Armstrong as white, 5’8″ tall and weighing around 125 pounds, long, curly, light brown hair and hazel eyes.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Brandon Filla confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday, that they have not yet located Armstrong's whereabouts beyond their most recent lead that indicates she arrived at LaGuardia Airport on May 14.
“From that point, right now, we do not know, any further, as far as her leaving the airport or how she got transportation, or anything like that. We just believe right now, when we learn that information we are able to confirm that information. In the meantime, while we gather all our investigation efforts, and put it together, we reach out to the public because we may generate another tip that maybe some one has seen her, maybe they gave her some type of transportation, such as a ride-share programme, so that’s why we are hoping to generate something,” Filla told Cyclingnews.
“At this time, she left on [May 14] and the arrest warrant was issued on [May 17] so now we are finally getting to the point where we’ve tracked that direction of travel and it has led us up to the northeast coast, so that’s all we know right now.”
Asked if there is a possibility that Armstrong is no longer in the US, Filla said, “Anything is possible at this point.”
“We originally focused our investigation here in Austin, until we had some kind of facts leading us outside of Austin. We got those facts, we were able to confirm that yesterday evening [May 24], so now we know. What is she capable of doing now? We don’t know. All we can do is follow her trail and hope to catch up with her.
“Could she go into another country? Absolutely. You’ve got to remember that the time she travelled, based on the evidence that has been shown so far, she was not wanted at that time [May 14] because the [arrest] warrant wasn’t issued until the 17th. She could have [used her passport] and she could have said, ‘you know what? I’m going on a vacation, see ya.’ She could have gone anywhere. She could have gone to Canada.”
According to the affidavit corresponding to the arrest warrant, and published in the Washington Post, on the day following the shooting, May 12, [authorities] discovered that Armstrong had an outstanding class B warrant for her arrest.
[Authorities] then located and apprehended Armstrong and transported her to the Austin Police Department Homicide Unit where she was briefly detained and questioned. However, during the interview it was relayed to detectives that the class B warrant was not valid and that she was free to leave, according to the affidavit.
An Austin Police Department detective stated in a news conference on Tuesday, May 24 that Armstrong was released due to a birthdate discrepancy.
"Armstrong was mistakenly released from custody on the misdemeanor warrant because her date-of-birth in our report management system did not match the date-of-birth on the warrant,” the detective said.
It was also stated in the affidavit that Armstrong was last seen on May 13.
U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force have appealed to the public for information that could help them locate Armstrong. The task force is actively conducting a fugitive investigation and pursuing leads on her whereabouts.
Anyone with information on Armstrong’s whereabouts is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102 or submit a tip using the USMS Tips app. Tips may also be sent to the Capital Area Crime Stoppers at 1-800-893-8477.
UPDATE: Armstrong was last seen on surveillance video wearing a blue denim jacket, black shirt with a pink design on the chest, white jeans, black and white tennis shoes, a black COVID mask, and a possible yoga mat carrier on her shoulders. pic.twitter.com/y816hPt7imMay 25, 2022
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.